2020 Nissan Sentra Interior

Your vehicle can produce a number of unusual scents if all is not well. Some issues may be minor, while others can indicate a serious issue with your car. The smell that you notice can tell you a lot about the source of the problem and where the foul odor may be coming from. If you're wondering what the strange smell may be, we have some answers.

Burned Rubber

A car that smells like burning rubber may have several underlying causes. You may notice this smell when there is a problem with the brakes, which can be caused by excessive braking or when the brake pads wear too thin and create friction. An oil leak can also cause a burning rubber smell. Leaking oil hits the exhaust pipe, which creates a burning scent when the exhaust pipe is hot.

Gym Clothes

The smell of gym clothes or socks usually points to an issue with the car's air conditioning system. Condensation can build up in the A/C evaporator, which in turn causes a foul odor. You can try to fix the problem on your own by turning off the A/C and letting the fan run to air out the system.

Burned Carpet

The smell of burned carpet can also indicate a problem with the brakes. If you notice this smell, it may be due to overheating brake pads. The brake pads can also produce a scent like burned carpet when they get worn out, which means you should bring the vehicle to a mechanic to have the pads replaced. Leaving the hand brake or emergency brake on can also cause this odor.


If your car smells sweet like syrup, there may be a coolant fluid leak. You'll have a good indication if this is the source of the problem if you notice a syrupy smell after the car has been running for some time or several minutes after it is turned off. The leak may come from a failed intake manifold gasket, cylinder head, or radiator.

Sulfur or Rotten Eggs

A sulfuric smell can indicate an issue with the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter produces this scent when it does not adequately process hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust system. In this case, you'll want to bring your car in immediately for repairs.

If you notice strange smells from your car, be sure to bring it by our Nissan dealership for an inspection by our service experts. Or contact our friendly representative to schedule a service appointment today.


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